Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rough Query

Matt Cassad is in trouble. After meeting street musicians Lulu and Willy, his world changes. The California paradise of San Costas is now a bizarre, threatening place, and Matt finds himself walking strange streets with strange creatures. Matt thinks he’s going crazy; he should be so lucky. His job as a janitor has brought him into conflict with a number of homeless people, including Mrs. Popeyehead, the queen of the streets, her mysterious husband, and the aggravating Jeff and Arnie. Matt’s growing friendship with Lulu and Willy leads him deeper and deeper into the netherworld of the Limbus, where a tragic and violent encounter with Jeff and Arnie puts the safety of Matt and his friends in the hands of the one person Matt least trusts – himself.

THE GHOST ROCKERS is a tightly-plotted 85,000 word novel of gonzo magic realism that joins a hilariously gritty, realistic view of minimum-wage existence with startling and surreal visions of a living, breathing afterlife. Music and monsters, love and art, and both cultural and supernatural underworlds all collide in this, the first volume of a three-volume series. Readers of Jonathan Carroll, Christopher Moore, and Neil Gaiman will find much to enjoy here.

I’ve worked as a scriptwriter for Mondo Media -- my work for them has showed up everywhere from the Warner Bros. website to the BBC. For the last few years I’ve had my short fiction published in the small press. I also assistant-edit, design, and illustrate the underground magazine Swill, which is read by Ellen Datlow for her Year’s Best Horror series.

I’m sending you this query because of your representation of Christopher Moore. While my writing is quite different then his, we share a combination of humor, realism, non-genre use of genre elements, and a distinctly West Coast flavor, so you might find this of interest. I’ve noticed that Mr. Moore’s books stay in print and stay in the public eye – I would love that kind of treatment for my own work.


Sean Craven


Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

That's a list of authors I like... if only you were trying to convince me to buy it ;)

Sean Craven said...

Don't fool yourself. I am trying to convince you to buy it. You and everyone else in the woooooorrrlllld.

The thing that's driving me nuts is trying to synopsize the novel. I've spent so much time trying to pack it as full as possible and eliminate anything that's boring that it really can't be described in less than a few hundred pages.

robp said...

The first paragraph's too muddled and the second paragraph sounds like it should be the first. Send me this thing as a word doc and I will gladly mark it up.

There are a lot of blogs about how to do queries. Whether they would help with your summarizing problem I don't know. I think if your summary is going to be this short you should leave out the names of Mrs. Popeyehead, Jeff and Arnie. You drop the names and then, yeah, you drop the names. Put them in the synopsis or leave them out - don't name them in the synopsis without saying anything about them.

Oh, and there's a typo in the last paragraph. I won't say what it is because you should be sending this to me anyway.

I know it's a bitch to do the query but I also know you've been working on the novel a long time. Get the query right and include a few pages and they'll buy the thing. Get the query wrong and they may make the mistake of not looking at the pages.

Sean Craven said...

Hey, Rob,

All the query letters I've seen have started with a synopsis, then gone to the description.

This is very rough stuff, and I'm gonna make you guys read it over and over again until you show me how to get it right. I want a decent version by the time I leave for Viable Paradise, which is why I'm working on it now. The query is one of the most important parts of the process, so I'm gonna try and do it right.